There are millions of ways for self-published authors to get themselves and their writing into the public eye, and a podcast may be just the way to go for many of them. In this episode of DIY Author, host Chris Well talks with podcast producer and author Carey Green. A veteran podcaster himself, Carey founded a company that provides podcast production, show notes, transcripts, and a handful of other services to those desiring to have a podcast but, as Carey says, “without the time suck.”
Q&A: Carey Green of Podcast Fast Track
Promo Rocket Author Media Campaign Blueprint
If you’re an author, you may have figured out by now that promoting a new work is so multifaceted that you can easily get lost in the process. To help you get organized and overcome some of the hurdles, DIY Author has created the “Promo Rocket Author Media Campaign Blueprint.”
Here’s What’s Included!
- Checklist to help plan your content across the web
- Prompts to develop news hooks
- Profile outlines for different types of media outlets
- Press release planning schedule
- Content starters for audio/video/text
- Space to list endorsements, reviews, and more
This FREE resource will help you organize and manage your very own book promotion campaign in a successful manner. Get your free download today!
I think the first thing you should do is clearly define what your show is going to be about. Don’t think of names, don’t think of bylines or slogans. Just think of topic. And then start thinking, “Do I have enough to say about this topic?” or “Would I have the ability to bring in enough interviews or guests or specialists to talk about this topic to warrant having a regular podcast?”
Podcasts are everywhere and cover every topic under the sun. Part of what makes them so popular and prevalent is the ease with which the average person can record and publish his or her own show. Chris Well and Carey Green talk about what it really takes to get a podcast show off the ground, how much it costs, what you should consider if you’re thinking about creating a podcast, and how to get the help you need if you decide it’s too much for you to handle on your own.
Listen in to find out how a podcast could benefit you as a DIY author and what you can expect from the time and financial investment of a podcast. Carey is very honest that podcasting is not for everyone, but for those who feel it is a good fit, it could be the best thing in the world for their brand as an author and their book sales.
All of that and more on this episode of DIY Author.
WHAT YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT IN THIS EPISODE
- The FREE Promo Rocket Author Media Campaign Blueprint
- Chris’ story about his own podcast journey
- How Carey Green got started podcasting
- The biggest benefits of starting a podcast for yourself
- The various formats your podcast could take (there are many)
- The time and money costs of creating a podcast
- Should you learn the podcasting process before you decide to hire out the behind the scenes work?
- What is a media host, why do podcasters need one, and what are the options available?
- The services Podcast Fast Track offers
- How to decide if you really should start your own podcast
- Why Carey believes podcasting is a better investment than video
- How much planning should to into your podcast episodes?
- How to work ahead on podcast episodes by “batch recording” content
- How John Lee Dumas does so many podcast episodes so consistently
- The basic things needed to start your own podcast
- How to connect with Carey and the Podcast Fast Track team
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Your FREE “Promo Rocket Author Media Campaign Blueprint”
An example of a Q&A style podcast – http://askJordan.net
An example of a highly produced podcast – http://freakonomics.com/category/freakonomics-radio/podcasts/
Audacity (a free audio editor) – http://sourceforge.net/projects/audacity/
Carey’s free tutorials for using Audacity for podcasting – http://www.FreeAudacityTutorials.com
The two largest podcast media hosts – Libsyn.com and Blubrry.com
An upcoming podcast host – SignalLeaf.com
Amazon’s “S3” storage as a possible podcast host – http://aws.amazon.com/s3/
Podcast Fast Track’s “6 reasons you should podcast” free pdf – http://www.podcastfasttrack.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/6-reasons.pdf
Podcast Fast Track website – PodcastFastTrack.com
Contact Carey at Carey@PodcastFastTrack.com
TRANSCRIPT FOR DIY AUTHOR EPISODE 25
Chris Well: Now I’m speaking with Carey Green. He is an author, he is a podcaster, and his company also produces podcasts for other people. That’s Podcast Fast Track. Carey, welcome to the show!
Carey Green: Hey Chris, thanks for inviting me to be on the show. It’s gonna be a lot of fun.
Chris Well: So, why don’t we start with you as a podcaster. Now, just so people understand listening, a big part of this conversation will be how they can podcast and how they might work with you on their podcast, but why don’t we start with you. How did you get started as a podcaster?
Carey Green: Well, it’s kind of a funny story. I was a pastor for 20+ years, so I was weekly doing teaching and I feel like teaching is one of my gifts, and when I retired from being a pastor I still had that itch to do some kind of teaching. I had a ministry website going on for marriage and home kind of stuff, and I thought, “Well, why don’t I just start a podcast?” I had a little bit of background in radio and so I knew some of the technical stuff already, so I just thought, “It should be a small learning curve for me.” So I launched into it and just loved it right away. I had to do a little bit of learning on the digital side because things were very different from when I used to do radio. And that’s how I got started and it’s been a fun ride. I haven’t actually published my podcasts for quite a while because my other business ventures have been booming. So, I will get to that in time, but it’s something…it’s a really big love for me.
Chris Well: For somebody who wants to start a podcast, or is thinking about it, what would you say are the biggest benefits of creating a podcast?
Carey Green: I think the biggest benefits are: Number 1, exposure. You have the opportunity for more and more people to have, not necessarily a conversation, but a one-on-one interaction with you—and I call it an interaction because people who listen to podcasts regularly begin to feel like they know the host, even though it doesn’t go the other way—and it’s a really interesting thing. I’ve had people talk to me like they know me, based on listening to something that I’ve said on the air. So, that’s one reason.
Another reason is: it kind of puts you out there as an expert in whatever realm you’re talking about. So if you’re an author, or a publisher, or an editor, or whatever, you can do topics based around your expertise and, if you market it well, and have good cover art, and make the name of it pretty clear as to what you’re talking about, you’ll get a lot of listeners who just sign up for your podcast right away because they’re interested in that same niche. And because you are publishing a podcast and they are not, they begin to see you as an expert—whether you are or not.
Chris Well: It seems like a lot of people, when they think of a podcast, they think of a particular format, and they think that’s all there is, but podcasting, really, there are many formats.
Carey Green: Oh, absolutely.
Chris Well: Why don’t we talk for a second about all the different kinds of podcasts a person could do.
Carey Green: Sure. Well, there’s the Q&A kind of an interview, like we’re doing right here, where you have a host and a guest or multiple guests—sometimes multiple hosts. There is a Q&A kind of a style where someone solicits questions from their listeners and has a recording mechanism of some sort where the listener can actually verbalize their own question. The host then inserts that into the podcast and answers that question from their expertise. If you want a good example of that, one of my clients, Jordan Malik, does that with his podcast called “Ask Jordan,” and you can find it at askjordan.net. It’s just a real simple 15-20 minute podcast, doesn’t take a whole lot of preparation because he knows his stuff and he can take the question and field it just kind of on the fly, and then do minor editing and it’s available to go.
There’s other genres, or types, of podcasts. You could do just flat-out teaching, some sort of a skill or some sort of a motivation kind of thing—a lot of coaches or self-help sorta folks will do things like that. You could also do what I would call a more produced podcast where you have an NPR style thing, kinda like Freakonomics Radio, where they’ll have music in the background, and sound effects, and multiple voices, and interviews interspersed. That is a really highly tuned skill—to be able to do a podcast like that, because you have to be very organized. And there’s probably, honestly, other forms of podcasts that you could do besides what I’ve just mentioned, but those are probably the most common.
Chris Well: Going along with the one you mentioned about teaching, kind of a similar that I’ve seen many examples of, would be like where they’re commenting or reviewing either, like items in the news.
Carey Green: Sure.
Chris Well: And it could be any niche, so it could be: “Oh, this is news…these are five news items from the world of comics, or the world of technology, or you know…” Like, I’m a mystery author. Well, if I were, I could start up a podcast like, “I’m gonna talk about news in mystery fiction.”
Carey Green: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I have some podcasts clients who do a combination of those two. They’ll do an interview that is the main bulk, but they’ll have a news section at the beginning that’s five or ten minutes long, where they highlight news in their industry. So yeah, exactly. News shows could be very helpful, as well.
Chris Well: If somebody’s now thinking about doing a podcast, what are the costs of podcasting? I mean, there’s money, but then there’s also time and… What are all the kinds of things that a person needs to factor into whether they want to do a podcast?
Carey Green: Yeah, well, the time thing, I think, is one of the biggest. For most people, they get into podcasting with this idealism about “Oh, I’m gonna have my own show, and people are gonna listen, and I’m gonna get thousands of downloads.” Well, all that may be true, but they don’t think about the time investment. If you are recording a show, setting up interviews, doing editing, uploading it to the internet, you’re gonna have upwards of 3-4 hours a week—at the minimum—that you’re gonna be putting in. Now, if you use a service like what I provide or others that are out there, that can be cut in half or even less—if you’re doing it the right way. So the time investment is a big deal.
As far as equipment goes, most people could podcast with less than $100 worth of equipment. That would include a good mic and the cabling to connect it directly to your computer. There are some free software that you can use, Audacity is a great software program that I use for all of my professional editing. I mean, it’s that powerful and it’s absolutely free. So you can download that, I’ve got free tutorials I can send you to so that you could learn how to use it. And so that side of the piece is taken care of.
And then you’ll have some expenses for what’s called “hosting.” And that basically means: Wherever you want to put that media file, that audio that you record, it’s going to be on a hosting site where they specialize in podcasting. Now some people will host their audio on their own website—which you can do—but most website hosting companies frown on that and some even have it in their terms that you can’t do that because if your show suddenly explodes in popularity, and you start getting a lot of downloads, you could crash that server very easily. And that’s why I recommend a hosting company. They’ll be anywhere from $6 a month to $15 a month, depending on how much audio you’re gonna be uploading—so it’s a minimal cost.
And besides that, just a website, if you wanna have it on a website. You don’t have to have it on a website, most publishing—or media hosts, rather—have an option where they give you a webpage that you could send people there.
So, the cost in terms of actual money you put out is very minimal if you’re gonna do a do-it-yourself thing. If you’re gonna hire a service to help you with editing and publication and show notes and those kinds of things, it can rise on you from there.
Chris Well: And going back to what you mentioned about the time commitment, a DIY author is, in fact, one of your clients for Podcast Fast Track. And we would not be a podcast, if it weren’t for Podcast Fast Track.
Carey Green: Well, you know, there are so many people in that boat, Chris, and that’s exactly why I started the company—because podcasters are passionate about their show, but they’re not passionate about what I call the “time-suck.” It can just suck your life away, in terms of time, if you’re not very, very organized and have a really tight system. And even people who do that, at some point decide, “You know, I have this all organized, but it’s still three hours of my time, and my time is worth more than the cost of editing this, so I’m just gonna pay someone to do it. And the question I always encourage people to ask is: How much is an hour of your time worth? You figure out what that is, say it’s $70 an hour or $80 an hour, and, you know, you may think really well of yourself and think it’s $1200 an hour. Well, then you have to say, “How many hours is this taking me to put out this podcast every week?” And it becomes a self-answering formula, after a while, of whether you should outsource that stuff or not.
Chris Well: If a person wants to start a podcast, how many pieces of the process should they learn how to do himself or herself before hiring out—or would you say, “Just right up at the top, hire out”?
Carey Green: I think it depends on the person. There are people that I talk to, in my marketing endeavors, who love the editing and they love the actual nuancing of tweaking the audio and that kind of thing, and it’s part of what they feel is their skills set and what they bring to the table, and they want to do it. I think that’s wonderful. There’s a lot of people who are very intimidated by all that stuff and want to podcast but just feel like, “This is impossible, I could never get over that hurdle.” Well, that’s where someone like me might come in. But then there’s maybe a third type of podcaster who is willing to do the learning curve, and wants to learn how to do all that stuff, but just really knows in the back of their mind, or deep in their soul, “That’s not the best investment of my time.” That’s a person who I think would be a great candidate for a service like what I do. Now, to be fair, there are other services out there that don’t require fancy equipment, don’t require a whole lot of time, things like BlogTalk and Podbean and TalkShoe, and these are all places where you call in through a phone-line and it records for you and uploads to their site and has a play button and you can send people there for your podcast. Those are all valid services, however—you need to read the fine print—they can insert ads into it anywhere they want, typically, and if you ever want to migrate that audio off of their service, onto a self-hosted thing like I’ve described, you typically can’t do it very easily. And so, it is an option—have to put it out there—but it’s not the one I usually recommend.
Chris Well: The two big hosts, and I don’t think there’s a third one yet that’s this big, but Libsyn and Blubrry are really the two major media hosts, right?
Carey Green: Yeah, those are the two big boys. Libsyn is probably has the largest share of the market and both of them really know what they’re doing and are very great services. I also am familiar with a service called SignalLeaf, it’s s-i-g-n-a-l-l-e-a-f dot com, and it’s a very good service—very comparable to the other two, it’s just not as well know, and then some people will use their Amazon S3 account to host their media and it works very, very well. I have one client who does that all the time.
Chris Well: Podcast Fast Track offers a range of services. You have, you know, on the very small end to very large packages. Why don’t you give listeners a sense of the options available if they wanted to be one of your clients.
Carey Green: Sure. Well the main thing that I do when I interact with someone about whether or not they want to use my service and, if so, how much it will cost, I ask them four questions.
The first question is: How many episodes do you want to publish per month? For most people that’s either every-other-week or once-a-week, so 2-4 would be the answer.
Then I ask: How long is your typical episode? Average is probably 30 minutes, some people go well over an hour, so it’s just based on what you’re gonna be doing.
The third question that I ask has to do with the level of editing that you want done on your show. Do you want no editing at all? So you’re gonna leave in all coughs, and hmmms, and ummms, and sniffles, and spaces, and background noise… Or, do you want high level of editing where you’re gonna cut out all those things and you’re gonna really nuance the audio? And then there’s a medium range in between where you want some of that, but now all of it, because you don’t want it to sound too stilted or too wooden.
And then the fourth question is: “Do you want show notes or transcripts included in that quote?” Those are all of the options for what we can provide and we can also provide artwork for every episode, if you want that. But those are all the variables that I have to know in order to give a specific quote for a person.
So, you know, if you were to just ask me, “What’s your price per episode?” well, that depends—and that really is the answer. It depends on lots of things that the actual podcaster wants to have as a part of their show or as a part of the service that we provide to them. So, I have some clients who send me their audio, I do no editing, I just put an intro and outro on it and I throw it on their media server and they post it themselves on their website, that’s probably the minimal side of what could be done. On the other end, I have clients who send me their audio, I do editing second-by-second, I enhance the audio, I add tags to it, I upload it to their media host, I write show notes for it, and I don’t do all this—I have a team that does all this, and we even get transcripts done for it, and we post all that on their website for them.
So, that’s the other extreme of what could be done. So for a person who really wants this all taken care of for them, they can hit the “stop” button after recording, upload it to Dropbox, and they never touch it again.
Chris Well: So someone listening is, say they’re on the fence. So they’re thinking, “Maybe I wanna podcast—I’m not sure yet.” What are the best ways to decide whether a podcast is a good idea or a bad idea for a particular person?
Carey Green: That’s a very good question, Chris. Yeah, there’s really six things that I encourage people to ask about how they should determine that. The first thing is: Do I want to gain a better, what would you say, persona or profile in my niche? Because podcasting allows you to establish and position yourself in your niche as an expert or a go-to guy or go-to gal, as I mentioned before. So, that’s number one.
Secondly: Do I want direct influence into the ears, and therefore the minds, of the people who are already interested in the subject matter that I address? To me that’s a no-brainer. Anybody who’s trying to advance a business online…man, you want to talk directly to the people who are interested in what you address. And podcasting allows you to do that—literally right in their ears or their earbuds, you might say.
The third thing is: Are my competitors taking advantage of podcasting? You need to go into iTunes, go into Stitcher, and see if your competition is getting a leg up on you in podcasting. It depends on your niche—very specialized niches, probably not. My experience with authors—I’m assuming that may be some of your listeners here—is that there are a lot of shows starting to pop up for authors, but there is so much diversity in what you can do, in terms of how you’re gonna approach your show and what you’re gonna talk about, that I think there’s still a lot of room there. I’m an author myself and so I listen to a lot of those shows and there’s, I think there’s still plenty of room.
Do I wanna make my expert content as easy to consume as possible? Most producers would say, “Yeah, I want people to be able to get my stuff, enjoy it.” The reason that I think this one is important is because, if you think about a podcast, it’s very different than video. A lot of people think, “Oh, professional is video,” but a podcast is much more user friendly in the sense that they can listen while they’re on the treadmill, they can listen while they’re driving, they can listen while they’re working around the house—you can’t do any of those things with video. And so I think the old days where you get these motivation tapes with a rah, rah Amway presentation on the tape and listen to that as you’re driving in your car, well that’s what podcasting is—only with much better quality and with a direct subscription so the people actually get your episode every time you send it out. To me it’s a great option.
The next thing I would encourage people to ask: Is podcasting something that I really feel a draw to? Because, you know, if you get into podcasting and it’s just not you, you feel awkward behind the mic, you feel like it’s just pulling teeth to get it going, you know, then it may not be for you. I don’t think podcasting is for everyone.
And then, finally: Do I want to maximize my opportunities for, not just my current business, but possibly other business partnerships and things like that? I think of people like Pat Lynn, Michael Hyatt, Dan Miller…all these big name internet marketing people really have taken off because of their podcasts. Their podcast is what has gotten them out there. And so, if you’re looking for that kind of exposure that can get you opportunities beyond even just what you’re currently doing, podcasting may be the way to get there.
Chris Well: So, how much of a plan should someone have before they hit “record,” before they start podcasting?
Carey Green: I think at the very least you need a minimal outline of what you’re gonna be talking about and where you want to wind up at the end of the episode. Now, I know a few people, and I would say it’s maybe one half of one percent—so that’s probably not most of your listeners—who can just hit “play” and start talking and it comes out cogent and organized and really drives the point home. As I said, that’s very few people. So I think you need to at least think through what you wanna talk about, write down a bullet point outline, and even—if you’re using an editing service, especially—you can, in the middle of your conversation, say “Hang on. Hang on, I wanna change that so cut that out—I’m gonna say something different” and then say something different and all that’s gonna disappear in the editing. So you don’t have to feel so uptight about it, “Oh I’ve gotta get this right exactly the first time.” No, you don’t. Because, if you’re gonna do any editing on the show, you can always take those things out. At the very least, be prepared in your mind. Know what you’re gonna say and how you wanna say it. You don’t have to have it scripted, though I know some people who do and they read the script and they work really hard to keep it from sounding like they’re reading a script, but either way I think you’ve got to be prepared on some level.
Chris Well: And, in terms of planning ahead, how many episodes ahead would you recommend somebody is…and I will say, recently you did send out an email to clients—I received one—where you recommended batching. Do you think everybody should batch? How many episodes ahead should a person be thinking?
Carey Green: Well, I think it depends partly on the person’s business model and what their strategy is. If you have a really well defined strategy and you can set your podcasting in motion alongside that, where you’re promoting the same things at the same times, you may need to be four, five, six months out so that you can coordinate marketing episodes with your episodes coming up at the same time. If you’re not doing that kind of thing and you’re just wanting to be an information giver and a content creator to help your niche, then I would say you don’t need to be that far ahead.
Now batching, the reason I think—and by batching I mean recording four or five episodes at a time, or a group of episodes, doesn’t have to be those numbers—batching is powerful because it’s a timesaver. You can set up your computer—take all the time to do that, get your microphone ready, do your sound check, and then do all your recording in one batch, and you don’t have to set up again tomorrow and do another one or next week and do another one—you’ve done it all at once and it sounds like maybe a minimal amount of time is saved, but you’d be surprised you’ll save 20, 30, 40 minutes of your day by batching podcasts. So, when I encourage my clients to batch, I tell them do four or five at a time. That seems to be a good thing, and then you’re done for a month and you don’t have to deal with it again for another three weeks. So, you know, it’s gonna depend on situation, but I think thinking ahead in terms of what episodes I’m gonna do when really does make sense—especially if you’re doing it alongside marketing.
Chris Well: And, for those who wanna go for the high end, I mean, batching, my understanding is that the reason John Lee Dumas is able to do an episode every day is that he does, what is it? He does eight interviews every Monday and then he uploads an entire month’s worth of episodes at a time.
Carey Green: Yeah. I have heard John talk about that as well. He does exactly what you say. I don’t know if Monday ‘s the day, but there is one day every week where he does all of his interviews. He sets them all up on those days, he does them back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back, and then he does all the editing the same day. I heard him talk about that one time. So he’ll do all of his editing…
Chris Well: Okay, that is crazy.
Carey Green: That is totally crazy. And he said in the interview, I heard—and he might have changed his system since then—but he said that he’ll stay up until 12 or 1 in the morning getting it all done. But then, if you think about it, he did eight episodes, he’s done for almost two weeks just in one day because he does it daily. And John, by the way, started also with about 60 episodes already recorded before he even launched his podcast. So he was way ahead to begin with. He’s gonna stay ahead all the time and that’s really his game plan.
Chris Well: And it certainly works for him.
Carey Green: It does work for him. I know one other guy, Shawn Manaher, who is doing a podcast called Sidepreneurs, he’s not a client of mine—he’s just a friend–and he does a daily podcast as well and that’s the exact same thing he’s doing.
Chris Well: Yeah. I’m just glad to finally be doing one every two weeks.
Carey Green: I’m with you, Chris. I think the average person doesn’t need to think on that level—it’s not necessary.
Chris Well: Okay, somebody listening says, “You’ve convinced me. I wanna start a podcast. What is the starting place?” What are the basic things that this person needs to do today, or this week, to start working on a new, launching a podcast?
Carey Green: I think the first thing you should do is clearly define what your show is going to be about. Don’t think of names, don’t think of bylines or slogans. Just think of topic. And then start thinking, “Do I have enough to say about this topic?” or “Would I have the ability to bring in enough interviews or guests or specialists to talk about this topic to warrant having a regular podcast?” By regular, you might mean every-other-week, you might mean once-a-week, but that’s up for you to determine.
Second thing I would do is to start thinking through, after you’ve said “Yes” to that first section, start thinking through “Okay, what do I have on hand that will enable me to do this and what am I gonna need to get?” You’ve likely got a computer. You may have a decent microphone. Now let me just say this: Some people start out with headset microphones—that’s okay if that’s all you can afford or all you have—but I totally do not recommend headset microphones. They have these…well, they’re just lower quality, they don’t have the kind of sound that you want to have for you show. But that $100 starting point that I talked about, you can get a very good microphone—I’m using it right now—for less than $70. It sounds great. I’ve heard quality tests between this mic and another known as a “Heil PR 40” which is like the industry standard, top-of-the-line, $300 microphone, and I, Chris, can’t tell the difference hearing the two microphones side-by-side. So this one’s an Audio-Technica, I think it’s a 2005 is what the model number is, it cost less than $70 and you can even get it on sale from there. So you’re gonna have to decide what equipment you need: do you need software? If so, that program I mentioned, Audacity, is totally free, you can Google that and find it.
And then you just: “Do I have the time to learn this?” “Do I have the time to do this?” There is a phrase in the podcasting community called “podfading.” And what it means is someone starts podcasting with a big bang and then they fade out over time, usually in a quick amount of time. That happens because people don’t rightly count the cost before they start. They don’t think about the time-suck, they don’t think about the amount of expertise they have or don’t have, and so they jump in and then realize, “Ah, shouldn’t have done this in the first place.” So that’s a very important piece is, “Do I really have what it takes to do this? And do I want to do this?”
If you’re considering doing it outsourcing, like using a company like mine or others that are out there, you have a lot less up front stuff you’ve gotta be ready with. You can just think: “Do I have the resources in terms of the guests and the expertise?” and “Can I record every week?” If so, you’ve got all the rest of it taken care of.